Spotlight on awareness of others

Improving emotional intelligence in management and leadership

Leaders looking to make a greater impact and to improve the performance improve performance of their team can do this by improving their emotional intelligence.  That is, their ability to notice, understand and influence emotions.

Research has proven that there is a clear link between emotional and social intelligence in improving and leadership effectiveness. Emotional intelligence in a leader is key to their capacity to facilitate emotions in others that drive high performance and employee engagement. 

Emotional intelligence and leadership competencies reflect what leaders do with their emotional intelligence in the leadership of people. The Genos model of emotionally intelligent leadership competencies is shown below.


In a previous blog we discussed self-awareness as a foundation competency in emotional intelligence.  Today, we delve into another fundamental emotional intelligence competency- Awareness of others.  

Awareness of others and its link to emotional and social intelligence in and leadership

Awareness of others, often also referred as social awareness, is the ability to notice and understand the emotions of others.  Whilst self-awareness discussed in the previous blog is all about looking inward, this is all about looking outward: being able to observe and learn about others and behave and respond accordingly.

Given that leadership is all about people, it is easy to understand why developing a better understanding of how others feel and react is an essential skill of leadership.  Leaders who have developed this skill are better at adapting, persuading and motivating their team.

  • A leader that has strong awareness of others will:
  • Show strong active listening skills
  • Be flexible in their approach- adapting style and delivery depending on the situation
  • Show strong influential and persuasive skills
  • Be empathetic
  • Understand the organisational culture and the impact on their team
  • Be non-judgemental

So, to further develop emotional intelligence in management and leadership and leadership, we need to invest in raising our awareness of others. Here are a few tips to get you started on practising and developing this essential skill.

  • People watch– Spend some time people-watching and really notice what is going on.  Body language, tone of voice, pace of walk.  The more you watch, the more you will notice how much people reveal about their moods and emotions. Being able to quickly identify moods is an important part of developing awareness of others and the more you practice this, the more you can improve.
  • Plan ahead of meetings – What do you need, who will be therewill there, what are the agenda items? The more organised you are ahead of a meeting, the more your brain can be fully focused on others.
  • Sit and look at people – leave laptops and phones in your bag, don’t take any notes, just be fully present and in observation mode. This will allow you to pick up on vital clues on people’s feelings and emotions.
  • State what you think you are observing If you are observing a certain atmosphere in the room, say what you think you are noticing. If you are noticing a person is feeling stressed, ask them if this is the case. This is important for checking accuracy but also helps show others that you are picking up these vital signals and cues. 
  • Walk in someone else’s shoes – Ask yourself- If I were this person, how would I be feeling/ reacting?  This is an exercise that is easier said than done, it is all about suspending judgement and own beliefs and thinking about how another person would deal with a situation.  Walking in someone else’s shoes helps gain perspective and a better understanding of others. 

Perhaps the most important tip is to just be curious and enjoy the process of getting to know others around you to a new and deeper level.

If you would like to find out more about emotional intelligence and how Questline can help you or your organisation understand, assess and develop emotional and social intelligence in and leadership get in touch. Contact us 

Steph Nellis is a director and coach/ facilitator at Questline and a Qualified Practitioner of Genos Emotional Intelligence assessments.

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